The Brewers haven't kept up the crazy pace they set in April, but they still sit with their best record in franchise history on June 9. Going 20-8 in the first month of the season built a bit of a cushion for the Brewers. Milwaukee's division lead was 5 1/2 games at the end of April and currently sits at 5 games despite having an 18-18 record since May 1. The hot start to the season will allow the Brewers to at least stay in the race by playing .500 baseball the rest of the way, while one more hot streak would put them in a good spot come September. Milwaukee's offense has heated up and is healthy for now. Khris Davis and Jean Segura (above) have overcome slow starts, while Mark Reynolds is providing some pop at first base. The starting pitching that was so good in April has hit a bit of a rut lately. It's unlikely to linger, but the Brewers have options in the minor leagues if a starter is needed. Two months in, Milwaukee is in good shape.
Gene J. Puskar/Associated PressGene J. Puskar
St. Louis Cardinals, 33-31, second place, 5 GB
Milwaukee still holds a comfortable division lead despite playing .500 baseball for most of the last month because the Cardinals haven't been able to get on track. St. Louis had the Brewers' division lead down to 1 1/2 games in late May but are just 5-9 over the last two weeks. A lackluster offense is mostly to blame, as the Cardinals are 24th in baseball in runs scored. St. Louis entered Saturday with a .201 batting average and just 21 runs in its last seven games but scored five runs in each of its last two games. After hitting .330 with runners in scoring position in 2013, the Cardinals have a .238 batting average in those situations this season. St. Louis is near the bottom in extra-base hits and have hit the second-fewest home runs in baseball, meaning it needs to hit with men on to score. The Cardinals still can pitch with the best of them. Pitching will keep them around, but they will need to find a way to score some runs.
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Cincinnati Reds, 29-32, third place, 7.5 GB
The trend continues for teams chasing the Brewers, as the Reds have just been anemic offensively. Cincinnati has scored the third-fewest runs in baseball and has a lineup full of underperforming bats. Joey Votto is currently on the disabled list but wasn't performing to his standards when healthy. Brandon Phillips is hitting just .269 with limited power, while Jay Bruce missed 14 games in May with a knee injury. Bruce (above) is hitting just .211 and hit his fourth home run of the season Saturday. The Reds' rotation has got the job done, even despite Homer Bailey's inconsistency. Cincinnati has also struggled a bit in the bullpen, an area of strength last season. Aroldis Chapman's return is certainly helping that, while the closer has teamed with Jonathan Broxton to give the Reds a dominant eighth and ninth inning duo. The good news is they enter Monday just three games out of the second Wild Card spot, but the Reds need to hit to stay in the race.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY SportsFrank Victores
Pittsburgh Pirates, 29-33, fourth place, 8 GB
Despite carrying a 19-17 record since the end of April, Pittsburgh has gained just one game on Milwaukee in the division race. Eight games under .500 on May 20, the Pirates keep creeping close to the break-even point but can't quite get there. Pittsburgh's starting rotation has been the worst in the division and one of the poorest in all of baseball. Wandy Rodriguez has already been released, Francisco Liriano hasn't duplicated his 2013 success and Edinson Volquez has struggled since April. Now young ace Gerrit Cole is on the DL with shoulder fatigue, an obvious concern. Mix in the fact the Pirates are in the bottom half of the majors in runs scored and it's easy to see why they are fighting to get back in the race. Just like the Reds, Pittsburgh is far from out of it, but the Pirates are going to need to figure out a way to score. Top prospect Gregory Polanco (above) is likely on his way to the big leagues soon to infuse a bit of energy.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Chicago Cubs, 25-35, fifth place, 11 GB
The hottest team in the division? The Chicago Cubs. Rick Renteria's club has won five of its last six games since losing a series in Milwaukee and are battling despite clearly having the least-talented roster in the division. This is still a bad offense, but Anthony Rizzo (above) is having a good start to the season. Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel have been two of the best pitchers in the National League, but both will most likely be traded come the trade deadline. Until then, opposing teams will have their hands full when facing Samardzija and Hammel. The Cubs are still ticketed for a last-place finish and things could get ugly once players are moved at the trade deadline.